Thursday, December 5, 2013

Look at the fruits...

A report from the life-after-RC blog shares this story from the National Catholic Register:
ROME — The Legion of Christ has expressed its “deep sorrow” after internal investigations revealed that a Legionary priest has been found guilty of sexually abusing a minor.

The charges against Legionary Father William Izquierdo involve a novice when Father Izquierdo served as instructor of novices in Cheshire, Conn., between 1982 and 1994.

Legionary Father Luis Garza, North American territorial director of the congregation, was informed of the case in July 2012, the Legion said, and added that a third party and independent investigation of the allegation then took place that concluded in August of this year, ruling that the allegation was true. [Emphasis added--E.M.]

But that's not all:
A total of 35 Legionary priests have been accused of sexual abuse of minors throughout the congregation’s history, the Legion has revealed, although Father Clariond told the Register he expected more to emerge in the future. Of these 35, nine have been found guilty (including the founder) and punished canonically (two were laicized, and seven had sanctions imposed on their life and ministry), 14 have been acquitted (10 priests were found innocent after an investigation was made, according to Canon 1717 of the Code of Canon Law; the other four cases involved imprudent behavior, but not crimes that would require sanctions), and two had already left the ministry when the allegations were presented, and, therefore, no canonical procedures were initiated against them. Ten other cases are still under review.

Of six accused Legionary of Christ superiors and formators, three have been found guilty of sexually abusing adults under their authority, one of whom includes Maciel. The other three have been acquitted. Two cases were judged to have been imprudent behavior that did not warrant restrictions on ministry. The other case allegedly occurred 40 years ago, but the accusation was made recently. Even though the investigation pointed to his innocence, by common consent, restrictions were imposed on the priest, “in an abundance of caution,” the Legion said. The spokesman didn't clarify how many acquittals were civil or canonical in nature, but said they were a combination of the two. [Emphasis above added--E.M.]

The Legion, according to the article, hastens to point out that the percentages of abusers or those guilty of improper conduct are still quite small.

You know what gets me about this?  When Fr. Maciel was still living and still running the order, the refrain from many Legion supporters was "Look at the fruits!"  That is, look at all the good the Legion was doing in forming and teaching solidly orthodox Catholics who could then go out and make a difference in the world, taking over moribund parish education programs, inspiring youth with alternatives to the parish youth group, and inspiring young men to join the Legion of Christ as seminarians!

Why is it that when the "fruits" show that a novice director is one of those found guilty of abusing a minor (one minor--so far?) and that Maciel's culture of deceit and spiritual blackmail and silence in the face of problems only helped other abusers to hide their abuse, that isn't considered to be one of the "fruits" of a toxic order that has yet to define its charism?